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paharo45

Active member
On a recent trip to the Peloponnese region, I had the pleasure of tasting a robust Agiorgitiko, which was a perfect companion to the local lamb dishes. I also visited the Domaine Skouras, a family-owned winery where the tradition has been passed down for generations – their Megas Oenos blend is to die for.

While I remain enchanted by the wines from this region, I'm just getting started. I've heard whispers of lesser-known grape varieties with complex profiles, such as Assyrtiko. Has anyone here had the opportunity to indulge in this rare find? Share with us your tasting notes!

For those looking to dive deeper into the world of Greek wine, there are some magnificent wine routes that weave through lush vineyards and offer a glimpse into the country's rich wine culture. The 'Wines of Crete' festival is also an upcoming event I have on my radar. It's a great opportunity to sample a diverse array of Cretan wines and perhaps even unearth a new favorite.

What Greek wines have beckoned to you? Any particular food pairings that brought out the best in them? Or perhaps you have a favorite vineyard that you would recommend visiting.
 
I love Greek wine. I didn't like the small sample set of Greek wine I was finding in the United States at first. Offerings about twenty years ago were few and far between. Mavrodaphne, retsina, maybe a red here and there. Things are different now. I went to Greece, and also Greek wine is more readily available outside of Greece.

One of the things I love is that there are grapes in Greek wine you can't find anywhere else. Assyrtiko, a gem from the volcanic soils of Santorini, produces mineral-rich and citrus-forward whites that are simply spellbinding. At the same time, Agiorgitiko and Xinomavro showcase reds' diverse and robust character.

What struck me most is the unique personality these grapes have. As opposed to familiar international varieties, trying a Moschofilero or a Roditis offers a taste that's refreshingly different, an expression of terroir that's as clear as the Aegean Sea itself.
 

What are your favorite Greek olives?

I love Kalamata olives but I am trying to branch out to different ones. Which Greek olives do you like best? I did some research about the different types:

Kalamata Olives: Perhaps the most renowned Greek olives, Kalamatas, are recognized by their dark purple color and almond shape. They are often preserved in wine vinegar or olive oil, which further accentuates their rich and fruity flavor.

Halkidiki Olives: These are large, pale green olives from the Halkidiki region of Northern Greece. Known for their crisp flesh and slightly peppery taste, Halkidiki olives are commonly stuffed with various fillings, from feta cheese to almonds, making them a good choice for appetizers.

Amfissa Olives: Cultivated primarily in Central Greece, near the ancient oracle of Delphi, Amfissa olives can range in color from green to black, depending on their ripeness. They have a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a meaty texture.

Throumba Olives: Unique to the island of Thassos, these olives are naturally sun-dried on the tree. They have a wrinkled appearance and a savory taste with a hint of vinegar, due to their natural fermentation.

I have never had any of these olives other than Kalamata and I am sure there are others, too.

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Cooking Greek Style Octopus

One of the things I like about Greek cuisine is the octopus! It's so tender and flavorful. I get it a lot when I am in Greece and only a few times in the United States. I want to learn how to do that. In particular I want to know:
  • Choosing the Right Octopus: What should I look for when buying octopus? Are there any specific types or sizes that work best?
  • Tenderizing Process: I’ve heard that tenderizing the octopus is crucial. What methods do you recommend? I’ve heard of everything from beating it to simmering it in a pot. What works best?
  • Cooking Techniques: Should I grill it, bake it, or cook it in a stew? I'm aiming for something that's traditionally Greek.
  • Marination and Seasonings: What are the best herbs, spices, or marination techniques to use? I know olive oil and lemon are staples, but are there any other must-have seasonings?
Any advice you can give is welcome!

What are 5 ingredients of Greek cuisine you can't live without?

I am working on stocking a better pantry for cooking Greek foods, but I thought I'd do something fun.

I would love it if you could share with me your top five staple ingredients for Greek cuisine and maybe a little but about why.

I am going to share mine to get things started:

1. Feta Cheese - Of course! Greek food wouldn't be the same.
2. Phyllo - I have learned that I won't make my own, so I have to keep it on hand.
3. Greek olive oil - I should have put this first! I can't live without olive oil lol
4. Greek oregano - I bring a bunch back from Greece or order it online when I run out. Nothing beats it!
5. Greek olives - I like to keep 2-3 different types on hand - I get these from a local Greek store.

What are your choices?

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Traditions associated with Greek coffee?

When I visit people in Greece, it usually involves Greek coffee, a cold glass of water, and whatever sweets there are around - like Loukoumi, spoon sweets, fruit.. it seems like it's all about hospitality and spending time together, while sharing the bounty of what you have.

One time, a yiayia actually did a "reading" using coffee grounds. I didn't understand all the Greek, but the reading was fun and lighthearted and I wondered how she decided what to say.

Do you guys have similar experiences? The social aspect has been a big part of it for me.

Learning about Greek wines

Greek wines offer a window into the country's rich traditions. I have been taking the time to learn more about it lately!

Greek wine history dates back over 4,000 years, intertwined with myths and traditions where wine was celebrated as a gift from the gods. Today, Greece's unique climate, diverse soils, and indigenous grape varieties contribute to the production of wines with distinct character and quality.

Indigenous Varieties to Know:
  1. Assyrtiko: Originally from Santorini, this white grape is all about minerality, crisp acidity, and lemony flavors, making it a perfect companion for seafood.
  2. Agiorgitiko: One of the most important red varieties, primarily grown in the Peloponnese. It produces wines ranging from soft and fruity to full-bodied and age-worthy.
  3. Xinomavro: Often referred to as the "Barolo of Greece," this red grape from Northern Greece offers complex aromas and a strong tannic presence, ideal for aging.
  4. Moschofilero: A highly aromatic white variety, yielding wines that are fresh and floral with lively acidity, hailing from the cool-climate region of Mantinia.
  5. Retsina: While not a grape variety, no discussion on Greek wine can be complete without mentioning Retsina, a traditional white or rosé wine flavored with pine resin. A contemporary approach to Retsina has given it a much-needed makeover, making it an intriguing option worth revisiting.

Did I miss any wines? I am guessing I did...

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